Should you rent a car in GenoaItaly>Genoa

It would be too easy to dismiss Genoa entirely without taking a look at some of the sites of historic interest within. This is of course an ancient city with many stories to tell, but it doesn’t matter how long you want to spend here, there is simply no reason to get a car if your plan is to stay locally.

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Heading out of Genoa, your attention will naturally point towards world-famous coastal villages like Portofino, which is around a one hour drive from Genoa, or to look towards the French border and the French Riviera behind it. But the chances are, if you are flying into Genoa, you won’t be looking west, since it’s actually far easier to fly into Nice.

Yet the real jewel in the crown that any visitor to this part of the world must see above everything else is the Cinque Terre National Park. This stunning UNESCO world Heritage site spans across 5 villages, yet by far the easiest way to get to and between them is by train. A hire car might get you to a congested car park on the edge of Manarola, but it is of little usage for driving in between the villages. The other option, besides the train and very tourist oriented (and priced accordingly) boat services, is to explore on foot, although walking times between each village can be deceptively(and of course enjoyably)  slow.

From the Cinque Terre, it’s natural to continue onwards to Pisa and Florence, and the Cinque Terre is also included in our car hire advice guides for these two cities. Even a destination like Portofino only has limited access by car, although it doesn’t have a station either, so you would have to visit by bus from Rapallo.

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  • Getting a hire car in Genoa might still be very useful if you want to head into the pre-Alps going towards Turin or even some parts of eastern Provence, although this is still usually better via Nice.
  • A hire car might also be useful for driving inland east from Genoa, but it is still anything but essential. Because the train here gives so much better access to the places which are most worth seeing, our recommendation is very much not to get a hire car in Genoa.
  • You can still visit the Cinque Terre with a car – you will just need to park on  the edge of each village, or leave your car somewhere nearby and use a combination of train, boat and walking.

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  • City of Genoa has excellent public transport, including small, but modern metro system.
  • Famous villages like Portofino are best explored on foot – local buses connect with rail services.
  • Cinque Terre is all about everything BUT driving – it’s best explored by train, it’s a walker’s paradise, and the villages can also be explored using a network of coastal paths.
  • Genoa is a major rail hub – easy onward train connections throughout northern Italy, and also into France.
  • There are some impressive cycling trails, using old railway lines near Genoa which have since been upgraded to a straighter alignment. The routes that have been left behind include some lovely short tunnels and spectacular sea views.

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Author: Carometer

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